What is ashy skin, and why does it happen? Well, even though there are many terms to describe this condition, Ashy skin is simply “dry skin.” The skin takes on a light, ashy coloring that looks more visible the darker the skin. Ashy skin occurs on light skin as well, but it does not show as blatant as on dark skin, and while different conditions cause dry skin, winter is the main time of year when ashy skin occurs the most. While dry and ashy skin is not a serious condition, it can be embarrassing.
So what causes ashy skin? Dead skin cells scatter from the surface of the skin, and the body produces new skin cells below the surface. These new cells travel through the epidermis until they reach the top layer of skin and push the old cells off. These dead cells accumulate, forming dry scales that don’t go through the natural exfoliation process and forms a barrier that makes the skin look dull. Ashy skin can also happen when skin does not have enough natural moisture to keep it smooth and supple —usually in dry and arid climates, or during the winter when the cold air drys out the skin.
What can you do if you have ashy skin?
1. Use a good quality body cream. Lotions tend to be lighter and the effects don’t last as long. A body cream contains heavier emollients that really work to seal in moisture for longer periods of time. You can apply body creams twice a day if necessary.
2. Avoid showering or bathing using very hot water which can strip your skin of its natural oils. Try bathing in lukewarm water and use a gentle moisturizing body wash. Apply body cream as soon as you dry off.
3. Exfoliate your skin. The layer of dead skin cells just sitting on the top of your skin is not helping the ashy look. Apply shower gel onto a loofah and use circular motions to slough away any flaky skin. This is great, but the one thing you must not do is scrub too hard. Overdoing scrubbing can cause more harm than good. The friction generated by over scrubbing strips away the layers of skin and enhances dryness.
4. Use a Humidifier. Dry air is terrible for the skin because it lacks moisture. The heat used to warm the house during winter also dries the skin. Use a humidifier to help keep the moisture levels in the house at a higher level and directly help the itch-factor of the skin.
5. Drink plenty of water. Drinking adequate water can help your skin stay plump and moist, hydrating your body from the inside out.
7. Use SilcSkin’s silicone based Hand Treatment. It’s made for wrinkled skin but the silicone in it will help draw up the moisture to the skin’s surface, resulting in hydrated skin that’s plump and smooth.